Ford to cut about 10 per cent of its global work­force

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - KEITH NAUGHTON AND ELISABETH BEHRMANN

Ford plans to cut about 10 per cent of staff world­wide as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Fields faces es­ca­lat­ing pres­sure to boost profit and a lag­ging stock price, the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported.

The job cuts are ex­pected to be out­lined as early as this week and mostly tar­get salaried em­ploy­ees, the newspaper said, cit­ing uniden­ti­fied peo­ple briefed on the plan. It’s un­clear if hourly fac­tory work­ers are in­cluded, the Jour­nal said.

“The com­pany’s per­for­mance has been lag­ging, even dur­ing times when the U.S. mar­ket was do­ing ex­tremely well,” said Sascha Gom­mel, a Frank­furt-based au­to­mo­tive an­a­lyst at Com­merzbank.

“Ford like other car­mak­ers is un­der pres­sure to stem in­creas­ing in­vest­ments in fu­ture tech­nolo­gies, so they need to make ad­just­ments else­where,” he said, adding that the United States and South Amer­ica could see the big­gest hits.

Ford share­hold­ers last week crit­i­cized com­pany lead­ers over what one in­vestor called the “pa­thetic” per­for­mance of the au­tomaker’s shares and ques­tioned how the board can con­tinue to sup­port Fields, who’s been CEO since July 2014. The board con­vened ahead of last week’s an­nual meet­ing to press him on his plans for im­prov­ing the com­pany’s for­tunes, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said.

“We have not an­nounced any new peo­ple ef­fi­ciency ac­tions, nor do we comment on spec­u­la­tion,” Ford said in an emailed state­ment.

Fields is fac­ing sharp ques­tion­ing of his strat­egy with Ford’s shares hav­ing fallen about 36 per cent since he re­placed Alan Mu­lally, who steered the com­pany through the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis without a govern­ment bailout.

Fields has been pour­ing bil­lions into elec­tric au­tos, self-driv­ing cars and rideshar­ing ex­per­i­ments as Ford’s con­ven­tional ve­hi­cle busi­ness has strug­gled more than crosstown ri­val Gen­eral Mo­tors amid a slow­ing U.S. mar­ket.

First-quar­ter ad­justed earn­ings at Ford fell 42 per cent, while GM has said it re­mains on track for an­other record an­nual profit. Ford has said earn­ings will re­bound in 2018.

Ford em­ployed about 201,000 work­ers as of the end of last year, in­clud­ing about 101,000 in North Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­tory fil­ing.

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